A Cinema of Discontent is Jamsheed Akrami’s third film in a trilogy of feature-length documentaries on Iranian cinema. The first two, The Lost Cinema and Friendly Persuasion, focus respectively on Iranian cinema before and after the 1979 revolution.
99 min, In English and Persian with English Subtitles
Friendly Persuasion examines the critical issues of Iranian cinema by framing several key questions and providing informed responses through commentary, scene analysis, and interviews with top Iranian filmmakers. The questions focus on international flowering, censorship codes, role of the government, representation of women, and a world-class children's film movement.
The filmmakers interviewed represent a diverse group of Iranian auteurs including new-wave visionaries Abbas Kiarostami, Dariush Mehrjui, Bahram Bayzai, and Masoud Kimiai) as well as the post-revolutionaries Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Jafar Panhi, Rakhshan Bani Etemad, Majid Majidi, and Tahmineh Milani. The film scholar Richard Pena provides an insightful commentary.
"A splendid introduction to films from a country that has established one of the world's finest national cinemas.”
Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
“A Comprehensive portrait of a national art form…. A must-see for any serious fan of Iranian film…. “Friendly Persuasion” is more inspiring than depressing. For its message is an encouraging one: somehow art will find a way.” Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Jamsheed Akrami's wonderful new documentary, "Friendly Persuasion," addresses with great insight and intelligence many of the key difficulties surrounding the making of films in Iran today. A must-see. (***1/2) John Petrakis, Chicago Tribune
“Friendly Persuasion is a superb, critical survey of post-Revolution Iranian cinema." Scott Foundas, indieWIRE
“Fascinating documentary… Dr. Jamsheed Akrami is one of the foremost authorities on contemporary Iranian cinema.”
Donald Clarke, Irish Times
THE LOST CINEMA
USA, 100 Min, In English
The Lost Cinema is a film essay on the Iranian New Wave, a film movement which blossomed in the 70s as a protest against a local film industry dominated by shallow, socially uninformed domestic films and excessive exhibition of Hollywood and European imports. Despite the movement’s contribution to the political awareness of the Iranian middle class, the New-Wave films, along with all other pre-revolutionary titles, were banned due to their non-conformity to the severely restrictive censorship codes imposed by the Islamic government after the 1979 Revolution. The ban has effectively shelved half a century of film heritage in Iran.
U.S.-based film professor Jamsheed Akrami sheds light on a significant trend of politically themed films through analyzing selected films and interviews with filmmakers and scholars.
“…. Two meticulous and insightful film essays that unpack some of the major issues of Iranian cinema- particularly the repressive censorship- through interviews with auteur filmmakers and choice extracts from their movies. (Akrami’s) The Lost Cinema: Iranian Political Films in the Seventies (2006), focuses on the Pahlavi period’s new-wave political cinema, while his Friendly Persuasion: Iranian Cinema after the 1979 Revolution (2000) centers on the emergence of art-house films in the Islamic Republic. These film essays are essential companions to any course on Iranian cinema.”
Hamid Naficy, A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 4